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« The Krebs manoeuvre | Main | Climate of smear - Josh 229 »

Another SciTech hearing

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is to hold another hearing about the public understanding of climate. There are one or two familiar names:

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster

At 9.30 am

  • David Jordan, Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, BBC
  • Ralph Lee, Head of Factual, Channel 4
  • Fiona Ball, Head of Environment and Engagement, BSkyB Limited

At 10.30 am

  • Ros Donald, Carbon Brief
  • Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill Blog
  • James Painter, Head of the Journalism Fellowship Programme, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

At this point it's hard to work out what the committee will be looking at. I get the impression that it's mainly going to be about media coverage rather than anything more substantial. I suppose that we can travel in hope that the BBC will be asked about 28Gate or that Climategate gets discussed. But not in expectation.

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Reader Comments (55)

Well, at least there's going to be somebody there who can try to hammer home the message that sceptics are sceptical because they have studied the science and think it's crap.
Is there anything we can do to provide some useful evidence?

Jul 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Perhaps they'll have the bish in a Hannibal mask and straitjacket, in a cage.
Just in case he gets loose and converts them.

Jul 11, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Bish I think it is good that you have a chance to have a say. One gets the impression that you may well be the lone voice in the wilderness but I am sure that what we sceptics lack in quantity you will make up for in quality.

Jul 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterOneTrophyWin

Please provide them with 6 areas of information proving that:
A) The 97% consensus, is a corrupt and false assertion which is not supported by the facts or science.

B) The evidence that scientific peer review has been corrupted in climate science and therefore peer review is no more than pal review and is mostly now meaningless and papers are more likely to be published if they have the "acceptable" conclusions, regardless of what the evidence actually shows.

C) The actual temperature record Vs the GCM projections showing how the models predicted that today's climate is impossible, proving that the models are wrong. Alongside Feynman's declarations that if the evidence does not support the theory, then the theory is wrong.

D) Evidence supporting the claim that The BBC repeatedly lied about the make up of those in the critical 28gate meeting which decided to end all impartiality in their science coverage and show that there was a corrupt agreement amongst "clean energy" insiders and lobbyists, to profit from thr invaluable publicity which stemmed from that change in policy.

E) Any information which shows the effects of the (natural) climate change the earth is undergoing is beneficial, eg the increase in bio-diversity, greening of formerly arid and dry dead locations. Increases in Polar Bear numbers, etc.

F) Evidence showing that current climatic conditions are far from "unprecedented" and have actually occured often in the past.

Jul 11, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterKen Hall

[snip DNFTT] Anyhow, Bishop why not raise 28gate yourself and not wait to be asked (which it certainly won't be).

Jul 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Be sure to mention thst Ros Donald is representing an organisation (CarbonBrief project) soley funded by the media group of a multi million euro funded lobbying group. The European Climate Foundstion. Which gives grants to virtually ever climste policy lobbying grouo in the EU. ~90% of Baroness Bryony Worthington funds for her Sandbag organisation, came ftom the ECF.

The ECF reason for existance is to lobby for 95% reduction in CO2 in the EU by 2050.

Jul 11, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Another waste of time, and once more demonstarting how out of touch politicians have become and how devoid they are of reasonable commonsense. Has it crossed their minds that perhaps the public have a better handle on what is going on (or should I say not going on given the lengthy temperature anomaly standstill)

Forget the public understanding, what is needed is more scientiffic understanding. The best start would be to apply proper scientific rigour to all the data, and start making real observations rather than predictions/projections by way of computer models.

What the committee should address is how much is it going to costs the tax payer, the consumer, industry, jobs etc, how many premature deaths will arise, the adverse effect on the quality of life and living standards, and possible social unrest consequential upon such changes should the government implement its proposed energy/green plans and should it turn out that these will have no effect on global temperatures either because CO2 has (at today's levels at this time in the Holocene) no significant impact on temperature and/or the measures that the government is undertaking is no more than pi**ing in the wind, given the actions of developing nations.

It would be good to know some figures on the outcome of a failed policy. In making this observation, I am not saying that the government policy will fail. I am merely pointing out that prudent management always assesses the prospects and the implications that a policy will fail. It is important to know the consequences of a failed policy before embarking upon the policy.

I do not gain the impression that the government has ever considered the possibility that the policy will fail, and if so how much will have been spent and what human price will have been paid in connection with such an outcome. To not have considered and assessed that possibility is gross mismanagment.

And some body considers that our politicians are under paid! Perhaps if they were better at management, the public would consider that they may be worth a bit more.

Jul 11, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Andrew Montford


Jul 11, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

It is unfair to think of climate scientists as dumb. The problem is that from meteorology they were fed false physics. Any physicist who thinks climate science is correct is being unprofessional because you can easily prove the Aarhenius 'black body' Earth surface assertion is wrong from Maxwell's Equations.

As for process engineers, they actually measure complex heat transfer so none of them accepts the IPCC scam unless they're really dim so can't get a proper job........

Jul 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Ros Donald - who?

Has a few GCSE's in science.....

Jul 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

97% of all climate scientists are incapable of understanding a survey question......:0)

Jul 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

"McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism"
Can the committe assure that the climate of fear, currently prevailing in Australia, will not be imported to the UK.

Jul 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

James Painter was the lead author of 'Poles Apart' - a study that was meant to distinguish different types of climate scepticism in newspaper articles from several countries but actually conflates many aspects. This article was ably taken apart by omnologos starting here.

Painter has also written on the press coverage of Copenhagen and the dangers of 'false balance' in reporting climate change.

Jul 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Troll comments and follow-ups removed. Please DNFTT.

Jul 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I think the Bish should concentrate on the known indisputable facts - the hiatus, models about to crash out of their error envelope and recent lower estimates for sensitivity. If you start going off on how wicked everyone is, we will sound like the nutters they want us to be. Bish knows this, we're in good hands.

Jul 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Well done Andrew - I will watch with interest.

I am sure, sadly, that having seen your name on the list - the "Team" and their disciples will have you in their sights more than ever.

Stick to your normal standards - already higher than theirs.

You need do no more than that.

Jul 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

I would urge you to stick to the "incovenient facts".

Jul 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRC Saumarez

I suppose we should ask you the same question we asked Aubrey Meyer; how did you get your invite?

Did you apply for it or just get an unexpected phonecall? Any other info on what to this outsider looks like a pretty random (and unsatisfying) process?

Good luck anyway.

[When you submit written evidence, they ask if you are willing to give oral evidence too]

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

The debate is "Climate: Public understanding and policy implications"

The obvious interpretation is that the Climate is understood but the Public understanding affects the policy implications. Therefore the debate will focus on the public understanding.

So I advise not focussing on the science. If pushed say that sceptics are rational and the science changes regularly (we expected droughts, Mediterranean gardens and lifestyles and hot summers but then "extremes" were all the rage) but don't focus on the science.

Focus on the media presentation of the science. Is there a stultifying bias that prevents "public understanding" by only reporting "public knowledge" without debate?

Then hit them with 28Gate and the difference between knowledge and understanding.
The difference between trusting support and resigned exploitation.

That's just my suggestion. Please consider it and then follow your own judgement.

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

Bish - isn't Carbon Brief 'just' a blog, too? I assume they're using the term pejoratively, although of course they could also have referred to you professionally, or indeed as an author, but that might have increased your status!

[They checked this description with me. I have no problem with it.]

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"science changes regularly"

As indeed does the climate, as it has for aeons...

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I am pleased that you have been invited/requested to attend (you're not gatecrashing it, are you?

While Greenpeace tend to invite themselves to pretty much 97% of places under false pretensions, I think it's a good idea to have a justification for why you Shard be there.

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Show them this graph and ask them where the positive feedbacks are:

Or more subtly, ask what magnitude of temperature increase leads to positive feedbacks. Then point out a temperature increase of exactly that magnitude on the graph which, being of exactly that magnitude, was not amplified by positive feedbacks.

If someone claims the graph only shows local temperatures, ask them how elevated temperatures can be contained in one region over hundreds of years without triggering positive feedbacks contained in that region.

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee so why have they got a bunch of Media Darling Luvvie Types on first.Shouldn't they be in front of the Media and Culture Committee.

So Climate Change despite its attempts at Scare Tactic Climate Porn has finally calamitously reduced Science itself to just another branch of Showbiz Info Tainment.

So Climate Concern has to compete for the headlines with Rhianna,, Beyonce ,Celebrity /Political Gossip ,Foreign Conflicts and Royal Babies .

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I would ask if any of them knows the consequence of our (UK) ceasing all CO2 output. Admitting that this is virtually unmeasurable would be a useful educational step, IMO.

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Well done, Andrew, for getting there to give evidence, quite an achievement, even if it is as the token sceptic.

I always like to see who will be appearing last as theirs is usually the message they most want to get across.

Remember it's all about 'telling the story'

"<2495> Humphrey/DEFRA:

I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a
message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their
story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made
to look foolish."

So why am I not surprised it's James Painter that follows Andrew and is last ....

Conclusion from James Painter's "Poles Apart"

"The presence of politicians espousing some variation of climate skepticism, the existence of organised interest that feed skeptical coverage, and partisan media receptive to this message, all play a particularly significant role in explaining the greater prevalence of skeptical voices in the print media of the USA and UK...."

That will be 'the message' they'll want to put across after Andrew's appearance ... 'the existence of organised interest that feed skeptical coverage and partisan media receptive to this message '.... as if, seems to me that by far the most of the 'vested interests' are those belonging to the warmists and that includes the massive government funding!!

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

There is a succinct article in this weeks spectator highlighting just how far the political class have been duped. It still seems way to difficult for Cameron & Milliband to save face and reverse our unilateral path to economic suicide.

The climate change act 2008 was passed just months before the financial crash. Who was the pied piper who led the children of Westminster? The UK itself was never going to be adversely effected by a 1-2 degree rise in temperature. Politicians love to posture on the world stage at our expense.

Jul 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

I agree with Ken Hall above Bish - your strongest card is to expose the fake 97% number.

They won't be interested (or competent) to debate the science - but every green nincompoop and his dog quotes the magic number at least hourly.

It's become the shibboleth of the movement - they don't need to even try to understand the science because 97% of scientists prefer.............

A precis of Barry Woods' WUWT article on the pathetic basis for the number might just be enough to break through to some of the less committed politicos.

A bit OT - but I was pleased to see Dan Byles MP getting stuck in to the Gasland rubbish on twitter today:-

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

The BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, David Jordan - must shoulder part of the blame for the need for this parliamentary committee.

As others have mentioned, there's his organisation's infamous 28-gate.

There are also deliberately misleading photos accompanying a significant number of Harrabin's articles.

Photos which to the uninitiated appear to be showing fossil-fuel derived 'smoke' or 'pollution' from chimneys. In reality, they're showing nothing more sinister than water vapour (often from cooling-towers), or, colourless flue-gasses but dramatically backlit.

Harrabin (as an Environment analyst) knows that the Clean Air Act prohibits the emission of 'visible particulates' but (he or his photo editor) deliberately chooses images such as:-

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

97% seems to be a magic number in climate science.
97% of the planets atmospheric CO2 is non-anthropogenic.

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Re: Jul 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Clive Best

Thanks for the link to the article, Clive, very interesting and spot on in my opinion, though I wouldn't say that the political class has been duped (unless you're referring to most of the MPs who simply don't bother doing due diligence when they vote in these very expensive Climate Change bills) - the senior politicians are simply getting the 'science' they paid for.

As the article concludes -

"Britain is in this mess because scientists became political cheerleaders. In doing so, they abandoned science as the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Failure to predict the weather is, in the scale of things, the least of it. With the cost of climate change policies approaching half a trillion pounds, the Met Office is setting itself up for the largest case of public misfeasance in British history."

And I found this article very revealing as to where much of the funding comes from....

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I do think 28gate is hugely important in regard to any discussion of the media's handling of climate science. If you don't get to talk specifically on it, I would still hand around a referenced fact sheet or bullet point list with the main things learned from that sordid affair. It's desperately important because nothing has changed. The BBC is still in breach of its charter and is currently under no pressure to change anything and meet its obligations in this respect.

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Bish - I think you should challenge Painter on appearing under a "false flag" and having a clear conflict of interest.

As well as his declared role as "Head of the Journalism Fellowship Programme, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism' - he still seems to be an employee of BBC World Service:-

Broadcasters are having their say in the earlier session - why should the Beeb get a second innings under false pretences?

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

My suggestion would be not to use the words climate change but global warming throughout.
As to the public's understanding, having been presented with the evidence of the climate scientists bad behaviour in the emails released from CRU along with the failure of the earth to warm as predicted by the self same scientists a large proportion of the public understand quite well enough.
Best wishes and I hope it goes well.

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Since this hearing is about the public understanding of climate I wholeheartedly support the other people commenting on this thread who have urged you to raise the 28-gate scandal. The way in which climate alarmism is underpinned by the dishonest BBC is certainly relevant to the subject of the hearing.

Jul 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy


"They checked this description with me. I have no problem with it."

Nor do I (I like blogs), but I wonder why the Carbon Brief was not so described? It's how they describe themselves...


Jul 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

...yes I probably did write a double negative earlier. should have been "false pretences"

Jul 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The debate is "Climate: Public understanding and policy implications"

There are already enough suggestions as to what his grace should say, so much so that if he tried to get them all across in the no doubt brief period of time he will be allowed he would fail ^.^

I would like to contribute the following regardless of whether the Bish has time to mention it:

The government is the UK government elected by UK citizens to act in their best interests. Part of the responsibility of our government is to ensure the lights stay on and that our industry and population have access to the cheapest and most reliable energy.
If at some point all the world's governments agree that action is needed to counter a global threat then whatever my opinion I support the government in contributing to an agreed solution. Right now there is no global agreement on action to combat climate change or even agreement that it poses a problem.
Our government has no mandate from UK citizens and no mandate from world governments to act unilaterally on climate change. It is not acting in the interests of its citizens and is in derogation of its duties.

Jul 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung


just decide what you think are the major issues and home in on inefficient ways of generating power, lack of certainty in forecasts.... leave the grandstanding to others (eg climate science is sound, and CRU is good...such areas gain no dissenter any credit)

Jul 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Break a leg Bish!

Be yourself, you will "read" the situation.

Jul 12, 2013 at 12:20 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

"My suggestion would be not to use the words climate change but global warming throughout."

"Part of the responsibility of our government is to ensure the lights stay on and that our industry and population have access to the cheapest and most reliable energy."

Quoted because it might be worth reminding politicians of the important basics that the public does understand, basics that the politicians may have let slip for something more BBC-friendly.

I only started paying attention to problems within Man-Made Global Warming when some of those problems (UEA's Climategate) were in an area where I have some knowledge, IT, so could quickly see that all was not as portrayed in the MSM. I have mentioned this in a post quite some time ago.

I may seem naive to have previously paid so little attention to something of such great consequence, but like many people I was wrapped up in my day-to-day problems and just accepted what the BBC would report that (apparently) scientists understood.

Most people that I ask do get most of their daily news from the BBC, and they do not have the resources to query in detail every BBC story; also they do not have the motive to query most BBC stories unless, like me, their own knowledge does not fit with what they are being told.

I would think that most politicians are in a similar position., so trying to give them a lot of new information that they cannot immediately fit into their current web of understanding could well be counter-productive.

Politicians are very aware of media manipulation though, so 28Gate should resonate with them.

Also, if the mantra of '97% of scientists' was true then why would the BBC have to rely upon climate activists instead of scientists?

I think politicians would understand the deviousness of the quoted '97%', because many of them would understand how surveys are manipulated to support a policy.

Jul 12, 2013 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerekP

Loved this from Paul Homewood's blog ...

Jul 12, 2013 at 6:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

I agree with DerekP. Good luck Bish!

Jul 12, 2013 at 6:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

The description listed in the link at the bottom of the announcement is:

The Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into what the public understand about climate, where people look for their information and how that may impact climate change policy and seeks written submissions on the following matters:

* What is the current state of public understanding of what is meant by climate change? How has this changed in recent years?
* Which voices are trusted in public discourse on climate science and policy? What role should Government Departments, scientific advisers to Government and publicly funded scientists have in communicating climate science?
* How could public understanding of what is meant by climate change be improved? What are the main barriers to this? Does the media have a positive role to play?
* How important is public understanding in developing effective climate change policy?
* What evidence is there that public attitude to climate science affects their engagement with energy policies or initiatives?
* Does the Government have sufficient expertise in social and behavioural sciences to understand the relationship between public understanding of climate science and the feasibility of relevant public policies?
* Can lessons about public engagement with climate change policy be learned from other countries?

The questions, at least, are admirably neutral.

I'd say His Grace could answer questions on the change in public understanding since Climategate, which voices are trusted, what role should scientists have in informing the public, and what are the barriers to understanding (by which I guess they mean barriers to belief in CAGW).

Looking at the list, I get the impression that they're worried their policies are increasingly in conflict with public opinion, and want to know if that's true, and if so what they can do about it. They won't be interested in digging into 28-gate. They won't be interested in being persuaded their policies are nonsense and abandoning them. They might be interested in creating a more open and honest debate, and ensuring the availability of information, if that will increase trust.

Of course, given the invitees, the dominant message is likely to be an even bigger taxpayer-funded propaganda push, led by the media. Making it clear what effect that is likely to have on the sceptical side of the public would possibly be of use to them.

But as has been said, it's hard to know what line they'll take until you're there.

Jul 12, 2013 at 7:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

I'm delighted that this committee has decided to recognize that Andrew Montford is one skeptic whose voice U.K. parliamentarians can no longer ignore.

From my recollection of transcripts and videos of previous "evidence" hearing sessions on this issue, it seems to me that the "format" is such that the committee members ask the questions, usually directed at one of the "witnesses" and others then jump in to agree and expand upon the response(s).

My hope is that all of the committee members will have done their homework and at least read Andrew's submission of written evidence (which just happens to respond to the TOR questions noted by NIV above, but also succeeds in including many - if not most - of the suggestions others have made in this thread):

So, IMHO, if the BBC's David Jordan fails to mention 28-gate (or does not respect the facts if he does mention it) for example, Andrew is very well positioned to draw attention to that part of his written submission when a question is directed to him and/or at an otherwise opportune moment in the proceedings.

Jul 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Perhaps you could point out that insults such as denier, crackpot, swivel-eyed loon and flat earther, etc, are not likely to endear sceptics to the politicians who use them about the people they are meant to represent but whose opinion differs from that politician's party line.

Jul 12, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

And just to make your life easier, Greenpeace have just scored a bit of an own goal with their climbing of the Shard as a symbolic protest against Shell Oil's plans to drill in the Arctic.

1 - The Shard is supposed to represent a broken shard of glass, not ice as Greenpeace claim
2 - It has absolutely nothing to do with Shell
3 - As Shell say, drilling in and around the Arctic has been going on for decades anyway.

Jul 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan Blanchard


Jul 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Perhaps you should improve your spelling, grammar and English expression before appearing before this august body. Count your errors here from your c.v., then justify your claim of 'creating expert communications materials':
"Writing about climate change depicted in the media, fact-checking news stories and providing a balanced resource on climate science and energy for journalists.Research: conducting a media studies on the depiction of migration forced by climate change and on newspapers' editorial lines on energy sources; investigating the economic effect of UK energy policies; creating expert communications materials; investigating the impacts of energy and climate policymaking " (no period)

Jul 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Bish, whatever else you say, you MUST get it across to the politicians that the reason why so many members of the public do not support climate change policies is that they have looked at the evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and found it to be fundamentally flawed. The politicians' supposition that it is a question of how the media presents climate change is an incorrect premise. The media can polish the turd as much as they like but it is still a turd.

Of course, it doesn't help that one of the main climate change policies is the replacement of proper power stations with windmills. Even if the reduction of CO2 emissions were desirable, windmills providing over 10% of demand don't achieve this objective because of the need for gas turbine back-up operated in an inefficient manner. How can the public respect politicians who promote and propagate this absurdity.

Jul 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Lilley

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